in My Medical Student Life
By Nabeel Ibrahim Published on 16/03/2019

I'm BALSAM IYAZ and this is My Medical Student Life

Hawwa Balsam Iyaz decided to skip her A'Levels and join the Pre-medical program offered at Kursk State Medical University, Russia. She aspires to become a Cardiologist in the future since she has a history of heart problems in her family. Balsam tells us that she loves to go bicycle riding during her free time in the Summer. It was a pleasure for me to interview Balsam for My Medical Student Life.
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Nabeel Ibrahim

Published on: 16/03/2019

Kursk State Medical University First Year Russia Hawwa Balsam Iyaz
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Kursk State Medical University

Current Year

Medical Specialty Interested in

One Word that Describes You

Most Intriguing subject in Medical School

What was your path to Medical School like?

My path to Medical school was something that I have been planning since I started my O'levels. 

I have always wanted to come to Russia to study Medicine. So, after graduating, I decided to fast track my studies by enrolling in the pre-medical course at my university instead of doing my A'levels. 

The course that I studied had the same curriculum as A'Levels, but it was all compressed into one year. We had quite a lot of exams as well.

I chose Russia as my destination because it's very diverse and inclusive. And despite what the preconceived notion that people have towards Russians, they are actually really kind and respective towards everyone. 

My university is culturally diverse and the environment is extremely welcoming. I applied to my university through an agency that helped me a lot with the application process. 

What was the biggest difference between your expectations of entering Med School when you were doing A'level, and the actual experience of being there?

While I was completing pre-medicine, my studying technique was very different than my current studying technique. 

During pre-med I didn't have as much homework as much as I do now. Back then I used to get ready for the following day's lessons the day before . But now it's not possible to do that since classes end late. 

So I try to prepare for the classes for the following week on sunday and do any homework that I need to do the day before I have the class. This way while I'm doing the homework I would be revising what I leaned earlier on sunday.

At first I didn't anticipate the first year to be this hectic. I pretty much thought that it would be just like pre-med. But it is so much more tiring and the days are so much more longer.

How is your daily routine like?

I wake up about an hour before I have class. Classes start at 8 or 9 am and end around 4:30 pm. I have 2-3 classes and a lecture every day. 

On my way home from university I get takeaway or get some groceries if I want to cook (which depends on how much I have to study for the following day and homework). 

I get home, eat, do my homework and study which usually lasts around two hours to three more on days following an exam or anatomy class. After this I watch something on Netflix and try to get some sleep early.

At my university we get only one weekend and that's Sunday. On Sundays I revise lessons from the past week and prepare for the following week. 

Which experiences in Medical School inspire you?

One of the most inspirational experiences I had in Medical school was my first anatomy class. 

We were handed a cadaver and asked to study all the parts of the head and neck. I was so surprised and excited that we got to do this. This was so inspiring as I kept trying to figure out about how he could have died and if he had any diseases. 

Name your favorite medical text book.  

The Atlas of Human Anatomy by R.D. Sinelnikov. 

What is the most effective way to study in Medical School?

The most effective way to study in Medical school or any school really is to revise your lessons daily. And during the weekends I revise the whole week's lessons. 

This way when I have an exam I don’t have to cram all my lessons overnight which results in me not getting enough sleep, being sleepy in class the next day and getting a headache. 

While studying for a subject always make notes or highlight the important parts so that it’s easier to revise.

Do you need High grades to become a decent doctor?

Yes and no. 

Grades are important because they make us more competitive and keeps us wanting to work harder to become the best. But on the other hand grades often don’t reflect on your knowledge of a certain subject. 

In my opinion practice and experience are more important than any grade. Practice helps to determine your strengths and weekends which assists in your educational progression. 

Finally, what is the one tip/advice you want to give to our readers?

My path to get to Medical school had a few obstructions. But I was determined and I was able to come to Russia to an amazing Medical university to fulfill my dream since childhood. 

I remember whenever someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would say, “I want to be a doctor!!” but in the back of my head I would always think that it’s just a ridiculous goal and it’s just a fantasy.

My advice is that if you really want to achieve something, believe in yourself! 

The My Medical Student Life series was created for the sole purpose of helping medical students and aspiring doctors on their journey to become a successful Maldivian Healthcare Professional. Have a suggestion, idea or question? Email us.

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